The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.
The COC and CPC urgently called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year and said they offered them their full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring.
“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” they added.
“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
The COC and CPC said they had reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. They added: “We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.
“We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.”
The COC and CPC thanked their athletes, partners and the Canadian sport community for their patience and for lending them their voices during these unprecedented times.
They said: “We remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.”
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start July 24 with the Paralympics slated to follow on Aug. 25.
Canada’s statement joins a growing chorus of critics around the International Olympic Committee’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.